Standing Up To Injustice & Supporting Our Scholars
Black Lives Matter.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Botham Jean, Walter Scott, now familiar names added to a long, long list of victims of a deep and lasting racism in our country. While these are just a few of the recent high profile cases, many more have gone unnamed and unacknowledged, leaving only the victims’ families and communities alone with the private grief and anger caused by these utterly tragic and indelible injustices.
While there are no words to adequately capture our grief and anger, we want you to know we are grieving with you, we are here with you, we are here for you, and we stand with our Black community and the 1,100 Scholars that we serve – the large majority of whom identify as students of color.
Our core values at the Richmond Promise include listening to and learning from our students, and building pathways to and through higher education for our community of students as a tool for leadership and liberation. Supporting our community of students is more important now than ever.
As part of the Richmond Promise community, we wanted to let you know what this support looks like. Here is an email we sent Friday to our Scholars, and over the last few days, we’ve been reaching out directly to our Black students through text and email, holding space in one-on-one meetings, and connecting our students to important resources.
Yesterday, a student reached out and asked us if we had Black focused mental health and wellness resources he could share with his friends who are most directly impacted. In response, we have reached out to partners and created a living, growing list of Black health and wellness resources for our Black Scholars and shared this list with our Scholar community – please feel free to share widely and reach out with any additional suggestions.
Looking ahead, our core mission remains the same: support our Scholars as the current and future leaders of this community. During this time, we are increasingly focused on how we will , through collaboration with great partners, eventually move from response to reinvention.
We firmly believe this work is more important now than ever. Our young people — our Scholars — are the leaders we’ve been waiting for, and we need them in our higher education communities and campuses.
We invite you to read this excerpt from a statement by UC Davis Chancellor May following George Floyd’s murder.
“The events of this week also cause me to believe even more strongly, if that’s possible, in building an inclusive environment that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. I remain committed to that and hope you will do what you can to eliminate racism, sexism, and other negative influences on our progression as a nation.
Perhaps higher education can be that positive influence on lives beyond an education. Perhaps here we can create a way forward. Perhaps here we can breathe.”
I hope you are staying safe and well and taking the time for yourselves and your communities.
Jessie & the Richmond Promise team